From Human Rights Watch
(New York) – A repressive political environment in Bangladesh ahead of the December 30, 2018 national elections is undermining the credibility of the process, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Bangladeshi authorities should impartially investigate allegations of election violence and ensure that those responsible are held to account.
The 37-page report, “Creating Panic”; Bangladesh Election Crackdown on Political Opponents and Critics,” finds that authoritarian measures, including widespread surveillance and a crackdown on free speech, have contributed to a widely described climate of fear. While there have been violent attacks by supporters of all rival political parties, the authorities have failed to act impartially, Human Rights Watch said. The police have arrested and detained opposition members, but failed to act properly against ruling party supporters when they target opposition candidates. The report expands on Human Rights Watch findings earlier in December.
“To ensure that the elections meet international standards, the police and election commission should not appear to be acting like extensions of the ruling party,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The violence during the campaign that has mainly targeted the opposition bears out their misgivings about unfair treatment.”
This report, based on more than 50 interviews with political activists, students, and members of civil society, and analysis of court records and secondary sources, documents repeated instances of arbitrary security force arrest and detention of protesters and political opposition figures, and acts of violence and intimidation by members of the ruling party’s student and youth wings. Institutions, including the judiciary and the election commission, do not appear to be fully prepared to independently and fairly resolve disputes around campaigns and elections, such as on registration, candidacies, and results.
See full report here.